International Conservation Services Pty Ltd was formed in June 1991, but really began life in September 1986 under the name Campbell Conservation. Campbells was co-founded by Julian Bickersteth, who at the time was Acting Curator of Conservation at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. Julian brought conservation to the Campbell Group, which had been established a year earlier by Chick Campbell to provide a range of museum and exhibition design, fabrication, merchandising, publications and project management services.
Julian felt there was a lack of private sector conservation services available in Australia to service the very substantial collections held outside of public collecting institutions. At that time, the importance and condition of those collections was highlighted by the impending 1988 Bicentenary celebrations. Julian’s vision was to establish a one-stop shop for materials conservation services.
Julian was joined by a small group of highly qualified and established conservators. Together they quickly built a reputation for undertaking complex conservation work to museum standards.
By 1988 they were ready to manage the installation of two major exhibitions at Expo 88 in Brisbane, the Treasures of the Holy See for the Vatican, and Captain James Cook, Navigator for the UK National Maritime Museum.